Coastal Facilities

At WSP, we build breakwaters, intake and outfall pipelines, dredge and reclaim land, ensuring that your shores are protected and resilient. 

Half the world's population lives within 60km of the sea, and three-quarters of all large cities are located along a major body of water. Commercial trade, tourism and development, natural phenomena and environmental protection are all factors affecting our coasts. Coastal facilities enable the development of creative and practical solutions to engineering challenges in marine environments. Understanding the dynamics of waterways, their shorelines, and the associated hydraulics and flow characteristics is critical to protection—and sustainable development—of our valuable water resources.

The proper repair of damaged waterways is essential to environmental protection and commercial pursuits. We provide the expertise and tools to identify, adapt, and integrate advanced solutions into systems that improve the performance and safety of ocean, coastal, and marine operations. In addition to tackling the challenges of climate change, onshore and offshore renewables, reclamation, and regeneration, we provide solutions to protect infrastructure, property, and people from severe weather events and other environmental risks, while focusing on creating sustainable built and natural environments for the future. Our approach also includes physical and numerical modelling, visualizations tools, engineering analysis, technology development, as well as field work.


Shore Protection and Resiliency

Coastlines are constantly exposed to waves, winds, and various storm categories that can lead to erosion. As a result, the land and infrastructure of local environments are vulnerable to an encroaching shoreline. We can help minimize chronic erosion and preserve shorelines by developing adapted shore protection solutions to your natural environment. Our coastal engineers, scientists, and biologists can develop resilient and efficient strategies to minimize erosion, including material source evaluation, construction, monitoring, and intervention planning. Our team is well equipped to provide design and construction services for the realities of shoreline protection, striking the delicate balance of supporting your needs while working within your budgetary and scheduling constraints.

Dredging and Land Reclamation

Dredging and Reclamation

WSP has an extensive, proven track record of providing advanced solutions for dredging and reclamation projects, including consultation, design, and supervision services. Over the past few decades, the dredging industry has faced numerous challenges and is constantly transforming as it adapts to the different economic realities across the continents. Dredging is technologically demanding and often requires a high capital investment early in the project lifecycle. It is therefore pivotal to ensure the most efficient, technically sound, and cost-effective solution for the project under consideration.

Traditional dredging activities centre on the construction and maintenance of ports and harbours, as well as on the dredging of rivers and navigation channels. Other applications have also become popular in recent years, such as land reclamation, coastal defences, mineral mining, and bespoke structures built for environmental enhancement. Airports, container terminals, industrial developments and residential areas are typical examples where dredging can play a pivotal role in the realization of the project. At WSP, we are proud to offer our clients industry-leading solutions and assistance, as well as design and supervision services across all aspects of dredging throughout the project lifecycle.

Breakwater in Calshot Harbour, St Tristan da Cunha


At WSP, we have long-standing expertise with the key parameters that affect breakwater performance and a proven track record of delivering breakwater projects across the globe. We know that vessel downtime is a serious issue for a busy modern commercial port, so we employ state-of- the-art optimization techniques to ensure that breakwaters create calm and quiet water for marine traffic. In construction, methodology and materials should be considered to devise a truly optimal solution.

Factors that affect the overall design of a breakwater include the choice of materials, site conditions, construction techniques and the future maintenance regime for the structure. WSP has experience in the design of all sizes of breakwaters, from shore-based groynes or fishtails measuring just tens of meters right up to shore-based or offshore breakwaters stretching over several kilometers. We have developed a robust repertoire of design techniques, including basic design, physical model testing, detailed design, and preparation of technical specifications – all tailored to the specific requirements of each new breakwater.

Our in-house geotechnical capability is tailored to individual projects to mitigate the settlement issues that are sometimes encountered during the construction and post-construction stages. We also have established relationships with industry-recognized physical modelling laboratories who construct physical models to allow design testing in simulated environments, eliminating guesswork and providing insight into the future performance of a given design in a real port scenario. Our team also has a wide range of site supervision experience, from condition surveys and repair design to site supervision – both for new constructions and as part of a remediation or maintenance project.

Intake and Outfall Pipelines

Intake and Outfall Pipelines

WSP has a proven track record of intake and outfall projects spanning decades, across the full spectrum of projects from cooling water and desalination plants to industrial and domestic effluents. We also perform conceptualization and design of intake structures and pipelines, including the prediction of effluent dilution, engineering surf zone crossings, and the specification of site-appropriate materials. Our expertise enables us to assess hydrodynamic and water quality around intakes and outfalls using oceanographic studies and modelling, assessing the impact on vulnerable habitats, and coastal zones, including beach water quality where applicable.

Water abstraction from, or discharge to, the marine environment remain important engineering requirements. Both are subject to strict environmental legislation to ensure the impact on oceans and inland water bodies are minimized. Traditionally, seawater abstraction has been primarily used as cooling water for power generation plants, especially in the nuclear sector, and the cooling of buildings in hot and dry climates has also gained popularity in recent years. In addition, the scarcity of drinking water in many arid regions has given rise to desalination and therefore a new use for abstracted seawater.

WSP was appointed for the design and construction monitoring of the Trekkopje Uranium Mine in Namibia. Water supply to the mine is provided by the largest desalination plant in Sub-Saharan Africa with an abstraction capacity of 3m 3 per second. We provided the required capacity through two intake pipelines that extend some 1.2km into the ocean.